During these challenging times, it is important to do our part to prevent the spread of COVID-19 among participants, especially when serving and delivering meals. Please take the following steps, especially to adult participants since adults over the age of 60 and/or with underlying health conditions are at an increased risk of serious illness due to COVID-19:
Ensure Staff Members are Healthy and Symptom-Free
- Send any staff with respiratory symptoms home (fever, dry cough, etc.).
- Check in with staff members frequently to assess their health status/possible exposures.
- You may want to take periodic temperatures of staff who directly interact with participants.
- If the oral thermometer temperature is 100.4°F (37.8°C) or greater, they have a fever and should be sent home.
Encourage Proper Hygiene Etiquette
- All staff should wash hands thoroughly as often as possible but always before working with food, after eating and drinking, after touching skin, face, or hair, after using the bathroom, after handing soiled utensils and equipment, and before putting on gloves.
- Before and after delivering each meal, have the delivery person sanitize their hands using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer (at least 70% alcohol).
- Encourage staff to restrain from touching their face and hair.
- Ensure that all staff are directed to cover their coughs and sneezes. If a staff member has a persistent dry cough, direct them to go home.
Keep Interactions with Participants Brief
- COVID-19 can spread from person-to-person when people are in close contact with each other (less than 6 feet apart). Someone who is infected with COVID-19 can spread the disease through the respiratory droplets produced when coughing and/or sneezing.
- When delivering meals, keep interactions brief and friendly. Participants may want to spend time chatting, but it is for their benefit to limit exposure to others.
- Do not enter the home if possible. Deliver meals at the doorway.
Use Proper Handwashing Technique
In order to ensure that your hands are properly cleaned, follow these instructions.
- Wet your hands.
- Apply soap.
- Rub your hands for 10 to 15 seconds.
- Rinse your hands.
- Dry your hands.
- Keep hands clean.
The entire process must last at least 20 seconds. Gloves, wet-wipes or hand antiseptics are not substitutes for handwashing!
Prevent Foodborne Illness Too!
It is also important to continue taking steps to ensure food delivered to participants is safe and nutritious. Keep hot food hot, and cold food cold.
- Cold foods (sandwiches, yogurt, cottage cheese, hardboiled eggs) should be held at temperatures of 40°F or lower.
- Hot foods (warm soups, meats, casseroles) should be held at temperatures of 140°F or higher.
Stay safe and healthy!